Helping My Daughter Feel Capable

Every morning at school, my six year old daughter’s first grade class took a 20 to 30 minute morning walk.  On this particular morning my daughter was feeling needy and wanted me to carry her.  I didn’t mind carrying her a short distance, but it became clear very quickly she wanted me to carry her for the entire walk.

Mom and Son in GrassFirst I started carrying all 48 lbs. of her in front of me.  When that became too much, I shifted her to piggy back.  It wasn’t long before that became too much for me.  I knew I had to figure out a creative way to help her feel independent and capable but not feel like I was pushing her away.   This would be a perfect time for Playlistening.

First, I told her, “We are going to stop up there (two houses in front of us).”  When we got to the stopping point, my knees started shaking and I said, “Oh my, you are so big and strong that my knees are buckling.”  My daughter giggled at this.

As my body wavered with my daughter on my back, I said “I’m so weak that I just cannot carry your strong body anymore.”  She laughed more.

I made a large circle pretending to dip a bit as I shook.  I groaned and gasped.  Now my daughter was laughing uncontrollably.

“I just cannot do this anymore,” I said.  “You are such a big and strong girl.”

Then I did a controlled fall onto the ground with my daughter on my back.  “You won, you won.  I am too weak.  I just cannot take another step.”

She took my hand “Okay mommy, let’s go” and started walking to catch up to some other kids.

She didn’t ask to be carried for the rest of the walk and we walked along hand in hand very contentedly the rest of the way.

Kristen Volk~ Kristen Volk is a Certified Parenting by Connection Instructor based in Denver, Colorado. You can work with Kristen in her next Building Emotional Understanding class online.

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